Fire-Rider: A Saga * FREE READ *

The Time, the Place, and The Story

The time is nineteen centuries after the fall of the vast Mercan Republic, a technological marvel that brought humanity into a brief glorious blaze of light and then plunged it to near extinction. In the period since the global collapse of Mercanized civilization, a catastrophic climatic change has given way to a deep and lasting ice age. The Hengliss peoples of Okan, A’o, and Foshinden, like their Espanyo counterparts in Socalia, Galifone, Zoni, Vada, and Mezgo, struggle to survive in agrarian villages and small cities, Henglis and Espanyo locked in perpetual warfare.

Thirty-seven hundred years after the events related in the Fire-Rider stories, a crew of herders found a cache of crumbling documents hidden in a cave where they had taken shelter from a storm. These were the remains of the Cottrite Codex, a collection of arcana and journal entries gathered by wandering scholar Hapa Cottrite, one of the few literate men of the Great Lacuna: the dark period between end of the Mercan time and the rise of our Methgoan culture. What follows is a fragment of that precious trove, translated and narrated by the famed storyteller Estabnya Marcanda do Tilár i Robintál do Nomanto Berdo of the Methgoan Academy of Written and Oral Performance.

This is the story that Estabanya Mercando pieced together from the ancient scrolls, the story of Kaybrel Fire-Rider, Kubna of Okan and his companions’ foray deep into the enemy territory of Socalia, their battles, their near-miraculous escape from disaster, their wins and their losses.

Table of Contents

A Word about the Translation and Interpretation.
    —The Board of Trustees of the Institute for Theoretical Intuitive Dissemination Studies

Cast of Characters

Place Names

Glossary: Hengliss and Spanyo Terms of the Great Lacuna

I. A Gift for the Kubna 

1. Roksan
2. A Gift for the Kubna
3. The First Deception
4. El Gorandero

II. The Spoils of War

5. Kindness of Strangers
6. Taking Counsel
7. Breaking Camp
8. The Healer
9. The Road

III. The Journey Begins

10. The Farm
11. The Second Deception
12. Kay and Tavi
13. Fishing in Company
14. Partying
15. Morning After
16. Kay and Tavi

IV. Ghosts

17. Fight
18. Tavi and Luse
19. Riding the Raider
20. Night Ghost
21. Where Ghosts Come From

V. Kay’s Ghosts

22. The Siege of Moor Lek
23. Kaybrel’s Ghosts
24. Habier and Kay
25. A’o’s Ghosts
26. A Journey Home

VI. Rik Kubna of Puns

27. Rik Kubna of Puns
28. Two Conversations
29. The Third Deception

VII. The Battle of Loma Alda

30. The Fourth Deception
31. he Battle of Loma Alda
32. Aftermath
33. Kaybrel Tocha

VIII. Kaybrel Fire-Rider

34. Flight
35. Outrage and Honor
36. Into the Mountains
37. River of Fire
38. Fire-Rider
39. Celebration

IX. Into the Mountains

40. Casualties
41. Cold Comforts
42. Medicine Man
43. Faith and Fear
44. The Kubna at Worship

X. Snow-Killer

45. In the Kubna’s Heart
46. Uphill
47. Blood and Ice

XI. Toward Lek Doe

48. Up the Long Ravine
49. Battle Dreams
50. Rendezvous
51. Toward Lek Doe by the Dona Paz Way

XII. Faith of Their Fathers

52. What He Knew Before
53. Rain
54. Gaming
55. Faith of Their Fathers
56. Kay on the Faith

XIII. Lek Doe

57. Lek Doe
58. The Cedars
59. Duarto

XIV. In the Dark of the Day

60. Duarto in the Morning
61. Liana
62. In the Dark of the Day

XV. The Weaver

63. Kay and Tavi
64. Tavi
65. The Weaver
66. Tavi and Kay
67. Kay

XVI. Thieves of Life

68. Thieves of Life
69. The Seeyo and the Brez
70. The Brez and His Kubnas
71. A Private Bargain
72. Hapa Cottrite

XVII. Through the Desert

73. Homeward Bound
74. Through the Desert
75. A Fight and a Trade

XVIII. Into Okan

76. Into Okan
77. The House of Puns
78. The Healing
79. Moor Lek

Afterword: The Cottrite Chronicles: Provenance, Historical Context, and Significance of the Cottrite Code.
         —Hano Fontana do Caz Eviatád ne Val Mara i Elarcon Danya